cover image The Lime Orchard Woman: Poems

The Lime Orchard Woman: Poems

Alberto Rios. Sheep Meadow Press, $12.95 (94pp) ISBN 978-0-935296-77-8

Here the cerebral and the earthy are vividly combined, and the resulting tension between reality and fantasy yields fresh and often powerful imagery. Deeply rooted in the physical, these poems posit sensuous experiencea strain of music, a kiss, the maturation of a woman's bodyas the soil from which abstractions about human nature and existence might grow. Thus, a man's ritual of shaving becomes a symbolic act of withdrawal: ``Every day he was leaving her, / But just a little at a time. / Each day he shaved off something of himself. / One day he would be altogether different.'' Rather than drawing direct explanations, Rios ( Five Indiscretions ) illustrates through startling juxtapositions. As the poems are neither linear nor logical, this technique is at once frustrating and provocative. If one wishes for more intellectual depth, the raw power of the imagery lends the verses an almost surrealistic quality, enhanced by the richness of language and the originality of vision. (Feb.)